It might not just be the fear of something that is
commonly referred to as the 'McDonaldisation' of society when
political leaders around the globe start complaining about the way the United States
treats them along with everyone else. Just one out of an ever-increasing row of
examples for the behavior of the diplomatically ill-fated Clinton administration is what German
journalists labeled 'the boots fiasco'. When leaders of the six most
important economic powers apart from the U.S. arrived at the Denver economic
summit on June 21, they found themselves exposed to humiliation, as ordered to
dress up in cowboy clothing, including boots and hats, for the welcome banquet.
Especially Chancellor Kohl of Germany
and French president Jacques Chirac refused that kind of fancy dress for the
But not vestimentary issues
alone made Clinton's partners and allies feel foolish, since not only were they
given a school uniform, but lectures about a flourishing U.S. economy by a
boasting teacher as well. Charts were presented, obviously showing America's top
performance among the seven richest countries in concerns of job creation,
thereby praising the 'American model' of no-safety-net capitalism.
the New World has long gained power over the
old one, plus literally every single spot on the map by invading with media
arms. Hollywood supports the world with
special-effect laden motion pictures, while D.C. dictates democracy and
obedience to something that strikingly resembles of a modern-time Roman Empire.
'No country should seek hegemony, practice power politics, or
monopolize international relations.' -- Presidents Boris Yeltsin
of Russia and Jiang Zemin of
Press voices are beginning
to get rough on the U.S., French daily Le Monde ran an editorial titled
'Imperial America', and even the usually more reluctant German paper Die
Welt claims that 'Protests about Washington throwing its weight around should
be taken seriously'.
What is it Washington has done to
earn this kind of resentment? Basically, a collection of laws and statements
that have come out recently would show the problem. The Helms-Burton Act, for
example, threatens punishment for non-American companies that trade with Cuba -- a
statute that is not justifyable by any international norm. Another example is
the Boeing-McDonnell Douglas fusion, which many -- mostly European -- critics
see as an American effort to 'monopolize the aviation construction sector
with the progressive elimination of the only competitor'. That competitor being Europe-based Airbus Industrie.
With American troops spread
over the globe, American films in theatres everywhere, with CNN and NBC
available on cable television throughout the world, it truly seems like the USA runs the
planet. And it does. During recent
household talks at the United Nations, President Bill Clinton declared that his
country would only pay the billions of dollars debt it owes the organization if
certain reforms were made. Reforms in favor of America's
leading role within the UN. Stranger still, that Clinton won't afford paying his dues, while
constantly promoting the success and greatness of American economy. The money,
it seems, even though being had, is not being given. Why, so spectators wonder,
can the realm of freedom and justice for all blackmail the rest of the world in
such a manner? Simply put, 'If the U.S. leads, things get done. If it
doesn't, then nothing gets done,' as an official with the World Trade
Organization in Geneva
observes. Is criticizing the way the U.S. 'gets things done'
merely the easier way, when the rocky road would be to get down and handle
international issues without American predominance? It appears like that, at
least to a certain degree.
'If the U.S.
leads, things get done. If it doesn't, then nothing gets done.'
The twentieth century will
find its place in future history books as the 'American century', for
no other power can even remotely challenge the position of the USA these days.
However, with the Asian tiger's now audible roar, and Europe
growing together more every passing year, the twenty-first one might not. But
even if the American moment vanishes in the sands of time, McDonald's is
likely to make a stand. And so is CNN.